There is one kid at Samatol, who we had regular contact with during our stay. His circumstances are interesting. He used to live and work with his aunt, but he soon became fed up because he wanted to pursue an education. So he ran away. In Mumbai, Samatol found him and now he has been there for almost a year. Over this time however, he has lost his passion for learning.
The kid is creative. He knows a bit of english and can speak hindi & marathi fluently. He is also hyperactive. The kid is constantly stealing our phones, playing games on our laptops, or making silly jokes. I must say, it is little amusing. One time when he was on the computer, he went to a website for a nearby mall. He pointed out the game centers and cool shops. Then on my iphone 5 he will look for every game possible and play it. Later on youtube he will sing along to his favorite song, Tum hi ho, and watch every movie trailer under the earth. Then repeat.
If my 15 year old cousin was to do something similar, I wouldn’t think much of it. In fact. it would be weird if he didn’t. But his situation concerned me a little more. Most of things he wants, he wont be able to obtain in life without an education, and he doesn’t realize this. He says he is gonna become ‘rich businessman’ and doesn’t need school for that.
A week and a half later, he stole a thousand rupees and went to that mall. Blowing the amount after a week he came back. Thereafter, I didn’t leave my phone out and kept my laptop away. Not because I am afraid he will steal it, but wanted to prevent him from polluting his mind. It probably will not have much affect. I also tried explaining to him how those things, ‘in theory’, are not worth chasing after and how important education is.
In the UK we have a similar problems. Kids lose interest for learning and are adamant that they will become rich automatically. I think many kids go through this phase, difference is, UK children are made to attend school, where they are constantly told the importance of education. Constantly exposed to the idea that education means success or money. Worst comes to worst there are plenty of opportunities after school to pursue vocational and practical skills training so they can be productive somehow. In Bharat, I have been told there is not a great system to catch kids when they fall or ensuring they stay in school. Comparatively they have less places for vocational and practical skill development.
Whilst excess materialism is never good, ‘artha’ is still needed in quantities for the development of society and man. At the moment it is difficult for poverty stricken children to even have a chance at this if they do not know the importance of education.